Somalia’s home of football, Stadium Mogadishu, staged a football game for the first time on Tuesday (30 June 2020) after a 16-year closure.
The country’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed inaugurated the home of the Ocean Stars, with a match between local sides Horseed SC and Mogadishu City Club.
The national stadium until recently served as a base for peacekeepers deployed by the African Union to help stabilize the Horn of Africa.
At exactly 4:55pm local time, history was made when President Mohamed, escorted to the centre of the pitch by Minister of Youth and Sport, Khadija Mohamed Diriye and Somali Football Federation (SFF) president, Abdiqani Said Arab, performed the ceremonial kick-off to herald a new chapter in the history of Somali football.
“On behalf of the Somali Football family, I would like to thank Somali Government for making everything possible to get Stadium Mogadishu back to use,” Abdiqani said.
He declared that stadium is ready for use as Somalia intends to host matches at their favourite grounds.
Meanwhile, military-side Horseed wrote their names with victory in the inaugural match at the renovated stadium defeating Mogadishu City Club 2-1 in a non-competitive cup match.
History of Stadium Mogadishu
Stadium Mogadishu was opened in 1977, when Somalia hosted the regional CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup same year.
The first match ever played at Stadium Mogadishu after completion was a friendly match between Ocean Stars and a Chinese Club, Leonen.
However, as a result of political instability since 1991, the stadium has served other purposes other than football, with a competitive game last honoured at the venue dating back to 2004.